Health Innovations                                                                                 December 2018
Happy holidays from the SIM team
Reforming health care is a tall order and one that the Colorado State Innovation Model — with the support of Gov. John Hickenlooper’s administration — has approached from a holistic perspective to pave the way for future success. The four pillars (practice transformation, health information technology, population health and payment reform) that guide SIM efforts touch all aspects of health care, which is why the team continues to publish success stories about increased referrals and behavioral health screenings, lower emergency department admissions, successfully renegotiated contracts and more. As the SIM team shifts more energy toward sustainability discussions, we are reminded of the role stakeholders have played in the initiative’s success. Hundreds of volunteers, many of whom have been a part of SIM since the inception, have helped make the initiative successful and will continue to champion the work. We appreciate you.

While this is the last December newsletter the SIM team will send to you, the seeds of change have been planted and the SIM work funded by the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services will continue to influence the Colorado health care system well into the future. One example: SIM was referenced in Governor-elect Jared Polis’ 100-day health care roadmap

The SIM team is excited about 2019, and all it will bring. We wish you a happy, healthy, holiday season!
SIM increases consumer/patient voice on advisory board
With thousands of providers now integrating behavioral and physical health with SIM support, the team continues to ensure that the consumer’s voice and perspectives are an integral part of the health care reform underway. Toward this end, the team welcomed two new members to the SIM advisory board to represent consumer and patient perspectives in November. Griselda Peña-Jackson, BSBA, executive director of 2040 Partners for Health, joined the board as a voting member. Peña-Jackson was involved with SIM's consumer outreach this year and brings a wealth of experience with consumer advocacy work and community organizing to the table.

Laura Carroll also joined the board in a new, honorary patient representative role. Carroll has been engaged in the Medicare Experience Advisory Council and was recently asked to participate in a National Association of Medicaid Directors conference during the "Beneficiaries helping to improve the Medicaid program" session. The discussion focused on barriers to widespread integration of physical and behavioral health services and strategies to address those barriers, Carroll explained.

Carroll and Pena-Jackson join Carol Pace, a consumer engagement representative on the Governor-appointed board. Click here to read the full story online .
SIM practice prevents ER visits, optimizes staff, boosts payment
Testing new ways to optimize all team members and expand patient access has paid off for Sustaina Center for Women in Lakewood. A SIM and Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative (TCPi) practice, Sustaina Center for Women successfully renegotiated one of its payer contracts after explaining how the small practice had retooled its processes to offer "ER visits" that resulted in an avoidance of non-emergent emergency room (ER) visits, which saved $257,908 in one year. Read more .
Using technology to bolster mental health
The National Mental Health Innovation Center (NMHIC) seeks (and vets) bold new solutions that can be effectively scaled to help more patients when and where they need it. Learn how the NMHIC is helping more Colorado practices find and test emerging, evidence-based technology solutions to bring them to scale. Hear two NMHIC representatives talk about how technology can help practices improve mental health outcomes and reduce barriers to care in the latest episode of the SIM podcast series , Innovation Insights . Subscribe to the SIM Soundcloud profile to listen to podcasts and check out the SIM YouTube channel to watch short videos about the initiative. 
SIM provider recognizes value of integrated care
Read a provider story that illustrates the value of delivering and receiving integrated care. “Today's appointment with this patient helped to validate how important it is to treat the whole patient and how rewarding it can be,” writes the SIM provider in a story shared by a SIM-funded practice facilitator.  
Learning how to succeed in an integrated setting
Integrating behavioral and physical health in primary care settings can be a long, windy road with many challenges yet it leads to better patient care and a more rewarding care team experience, say behavioral health providers (BHPs) who work in integrated care settings. More than 200 of these BHPs attended a SIM-funded training hosted with the Office of Behavioral Health on Nov. 1. Providers, who completed the training, received an Integrated Behavioral Health (IBH) Certificate that aligns with the  Core Competencies for Behavioral Health Providers Working in Primary Care  and IBH Best Practice Guidelines. Read the full article covering the event .
Educational series helps providers lead integration efforts
Integrating behavioral health into primary care settings creates new roles and responsibilities that lead to new challenges. This free, five-week series , which was designed for behavioral health providers, will help you develop strategies to resolve common ethical dilemmas, implement and operationalize tools linked to financial sustainability and discuss ways providers can lead integration efforts. Sessions run Feb. 6 through March 6 on Wednesdays from 12 – 1 PM MST. Register and learn more .
Strengthening ties to keep Colorado healthy
Regional health connectors (RHCs), a workforce funded in part by SIM, improve health in Colorado by connecting the systems that keep patients healthy, including primary care, public health, social services and community resources. The 21 RHCs form a statewide network and strengthen local partnerships. RHCs have forged hundreds of multi-sector connections across the state, and an evaluation with Visible Network Labs found that initial data shows success . More data will be available once results from a second RHC survey (in the field) are published. 
Expanding the health care workforce with health navigators
Otero Junior College (OJC) announced an expansion of its health navigator program. Health navigators work as part of a health care team or with a health care system to reduce barriers to care. The program will be offered as a cooperative program at Otero Junior College, Lamar Community College and Trinidad State Junior College to allow more students to enroll and complete the program. After basic courses are completed, students will finish their degrees online through OJC. Get additional information and register for classes: OJC Student Services at 719-384-6800, or email information@ojc.edu .
Share your perspectives
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office for Civil Rights (OCR), issued a Request for Information (RFI) seeking input from the public on how the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Rules, especially the HIPAA Privacy Rule, could be modified to further the HHS Secretary’s goal of promoting coordinated, value-based healthcare. This RFI is a part of the Regulatory Sprint to Coordinated Care, an initiative led by Deputy Secretary Eric Hargan.
The strategy is intended to address three overarching goals designed to reduce clinician burden: Reduce the effort and time required to record health information in EHRs for clinicians; Reduce the effort and time required to meet regulatory reporting requirements for clinicians, hospitals, and healthcare organizations; and improve the functionality and intuitiveness (ease of use) of EHRs. HHS will only accept comments electronically. The deadline for comment submission is 11:59 pm ET on January 28.
Suggested reading
Hazardous alcohol use and depression often go hand-in-hand. Yet when a patient is screened by their doctor for hazardous alcohol use, rarely are they also screened for depression.
There’s a lot of stigma attached to drug use. But Bloomberg Fellow Haven Wheelock sees straight through to the humanity of people dealing with substance use disorders. 
ANA and HIMSS join forces to advance nurse-led innovation and announce the inaugural NursePitch™ at HIMSS19 Global Conference with monetary, mentorship, recognition and membership prizes.
The project described was supported by Funding Opportunity Number CMS-1G1-14-001 from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). The Colorado State Innovation Model (SIM), a four-year initiative, is funded by up to $65 million from CMS. The content provided is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of HHS or any of its agencies.